Schlagwort-Archiv: english

Photography – starting, improving, help and internet

new category: photography

Nothing new in my blog? No new paintings uploaded? Why this?

The answer is rather simple – maybe some of you have guessed – I didn’t paint anything! Why not? Among the reasons -which can be summarized as not enough time- there are two which might be worth mentioning. One is that I went traveling to Asia for some time. I hope everyone understands, that I didn’t want to take my painting stuff with me in my check-in luggage. The second reason is, that I’m not only doing painting. I also like to do photography. So what’s coming up now is of course a new category for photography including also pictures from my trip. I’ll try also the story of how I evolved there, like I hopefully evolve in painting. If you like to have a look already, please visit my flickr-account.

Happy new year!

Top 3 video channels when starting photography

When starting photography there are three problems:

  • deciding which equipment to buy
  • learning how to take good pictures
  • staying motivated after taking “only bad pictures”

To find out what camera is good and what else is needed for the start, I did a long recherche in the internet. Getting tired of all the reading I used youtube for the search and found the first channel, which stayd in my top 3. All of the channels offer reviews of the most important DSLR cameras, some also cover other kind of cameras. Just search their channels for the cameras which you think of buying.

Learning how to take good pictures is impossible by just reading. You at least have to look at some pictures. The step from text and pictures to speech and movies (and pictures) is not so big. It is very helpful to “be part of the process” when a good picture is taken. For this all three channels offer tutorials which help you to learn the basics of photography.

After getting a new set of equipment, you will probably be very excited and start shooting whatever comes in front of your lens. I found this is perfect for learning. But looking back, there were not many good shots I took amongst the many. The first shot worth mentioning I took after one month. I often went out for taking pictures without any good result. When feeling like it’s just not working also those channels helped me. After seeing new content, getting new ideas and watching people enjoy this hobby I went out again for trying things myself. Of course often I failed again, but even then you are improving. Unfortunately it might feel different.

My description above sounds like a top 1 list will follow up. Actually those three channels are quite similiar, but they still have individual strengths.

Jared Polin does not only have an afro haircut – he covers all the points listed above. This channel I found last. What Jared does better than the others is teaching how to edit RAW pictures. He features a section Raw edit of the week where a selected rawfile gets edited by him, Adam Lerner and his viewers every week. This is a good opportunity to see how a picture is professionally edited, get inspiration for edits and also submit your own getting a short feedback. The reason why I rank the channel “only” 3rd place is because the editing is not so important at the beginning. Despite you can achieve very much with it, in my opinion shooting good pictures is much more important than editing them right.

Matt Granger that formerly known Nikon guy, reviews, teaches, edits, critiques, jokes, … very much like Jared. What style you prefer, you can judge for yourself. One thing I like most here are the monthly photo competitions. Every month a new topic and only pictures taken this month are allowed to participate. Also every month Matt assures that every camera brand can be used. I guess this might be the reason for the change of the channel name. The pictures have to be submitted via Flickr. So if you have an account there, just participate to try it. Don’t hope for winning, this is too tough in the beginning. So why should you participate then? You can see your picture in his youtube movie which is viewed by thousands, you get a few “free visits” to your picture and most important you’ll get a short critique of your picture.

Again similar content. One thing is missing here: interaction. No way to submit your photos, participate in regular competitions or make it on their videos other than running around in Hong Kong and looking for them making a video. Why do I still chose them as winner? What that’s them apart? It’s humor! You can get all your information. Maybe a little bit less as somewhere else, but their are just a bit more fun. I think this channel spreads the fun of photography and is suitable to keep you motivated. And that’s the most important thing in improving your skill – never stop taking pictures. One channel I like most here is the Pro Photographer – Cheap Camera Challenge. The best photographer try to take good pictures with the worst cameras. This not only shows that skill and creativity can compensate any lack of material – it also shows that if you are not happy with the pictures you take, it’s not the equipment’s fault.

 

I hope you like the channels I listed here, if you didn’t know them. Please give your comments. One thing I’d be specially interested in would be other good youtube channels. What’s your top 3?

The start

As a pupil I once was joining the photography course like so many people of my age did. I also took a few pictures later. Then came a break for very roughly two decades. A bit more than two years ago, just before christmas, I bought a decent camera set. After “snapshoting” with my compact camera, I wanted to do this more serious with a DSLR, changeable lenses, flashes, filters, tripods, … So to start I got a camera and lens. Now what’s the picture you see below? Not very impressive picture, ey? This one is my start into photography again! Like with so many things also photography you have to learn and exercise. So of course many things went wrong at the beginning, many pictures turned out much worse than I expected. But I can encourage everyone, to just go out, take pictures again and again. This picture is one of the early ones I kept in my flickr-Fotostream. It was taken quite exactly one month after I got my hands on a real camera.

 

Trees and Sky
Trees and Sky
One year: getting some inspiration from the gratest

After some time of photographing you might get a bit tired of it and run out of ideas. In this case it might be worth to look a bit at other pictures. One artist I admire -and I’m probably not the only one with this- is Henri Cartier-Bresson. He made great photographs just because of the motivs and his skills. Again it’s proven, that having the best camera is not necessary for this. Of course during his time he probably had the best, but without the possibilities of modern digital cameras and photo editing he created masterworks. One of his fotos (you can easily find via google “Henri Cartier-Bresson”) showed that a stairway is not necessarily boring. With this finding a nearby stairway I made the photograph below. So look at the masters and your possibilities and you’ll find motivation for new photos. Don’t copy, but be inspired.
photography- stairway

Asian food: satay

As promised one week ago, here is a first picture of my Asia trip. When talking to locals one object of interest is always mentioned: food! No big surprise, you get the best Asian food in Asia. And in Asia Malaysia is rated very high. This stuff is so much better than what you get in Europe’s “Chinese Restaurants”. Actually there you are hardly eating in restaurants, but in “Hawker Centers”. Small food stands on or near the street. Busy street. At least if the food is good. Being back I already missed it. One thing I noticed was, the more fume, smell or fire you could see in front of the stand, the more people were eating there. So I also tried the food from the  stand, which spread the most vapur on the road and it was very good.

photography- food- satay in penang, malaysia
Satay cooking in Penang

 

Satay cook at the Hawker Center in Georgetown Malaysia (2013)

Vacation in Malta

I’m just back from my vacation in Malta. With temperatures above 30°C I managed to grab a cold. That is true skill. In addition to eating, riding busses, walking, sweating and watching a bit of the soccer world championship I made a lot of pictures. Above 500 to be exact. It’s a long way to go through them and do the editing. I did it so far for one. Why? Because I want to enter Matt Granger’s photo competition. See the video below he announced a competition to the motto “symbol”. So not only is this photo taken during my vacation, it also imho perfectly symbolizes vacation. Let’s see what Matt things of this one.

My photo:

Vacation: sailing into the sun

Wish me good luck!

Lucy in the sky and purple rain (timelapse videos)

My calender tells me it’s summer. My thermometer tells me 15°C. Not only is this the coldest summer I can remember, it’s also the wettest. Despite the sun is hardly visible it’s still worth to look up to the sky sometimes. E.g. when the rain stops and some beautiful clouds are visible. Since I anyway wanted to make some timelapses, I tried it out this time and uploaded them to youtube. It’s actually quite easy, once you know what to do. I might write an tutorial on it. First I made this one:

(Lucy) in the sky:

Next I played a bit around with the levers. I actually did also some work and e.g. removed some flies.

Purple rain (clouds)

Which one you like better? What timelapse you want to see in the future? (only if I can make them – so please no pyramid timelapse suggestions and so…)

I’d also be happy when you share, like, fav or comment the videos.

Thanks.

dramatic red sky from the timelapse video
dramatic red sky from the timelapse video

Winterwonderland

Photocompetition

Every month Matt Granger (Thatnikonguy) starts a photocompetition on youtube. See his announcement here. This month I want to particitpate with my picture “Winterwonderland”.

Winterwonderland

This is a picture of the mountain Dobratsch. It’s in the Austrian Alps. I took the picture last winter in January. After this month I was suddenly very busy with my real life and also had not taken any nice pictures. Hopefully this will change soon.

Winterwonderland - The Alps (Austria)

Winterwonderland – click on the picture for fullscreen (Flickr)

Background

This photography was taken with a Nikon D5100, a Tamron 17-50mm VCII lens at 17mm, f=18, t=1/320 and ISO 1250! I used a circular polarizer.

One year earlier

I also took I photo quite exactly one year before. See the difference? Not much…
Dobratsch

The picture from the same spot one year (eleven moths, to be exact) earlier

Civilization: Beyond Earth 90 Minutes Let’s Plays

Civilization: Beyond Earth will soon be published. Now some Let’s Players were invited to the Firaxis headquarters and brought back some nice footage, which shows us nice gameplay. Since they were only allowed to play the first 100 turns, still many things stay unclear. We still get an insight in the quests, the aliens, technologies and the mechanics. It’s nice to watch them and get a feeling of what’s nice and what not so. You’ll find the videos at the end of this text. I watched them and try to write a summary for you here.

What we see

Obviously all let’s plays here have to start in the beginning. So we get a clear picture on the different fractions and buffs from the starting choices.

Starting choices

Fractions in Civilization: Beyond Earth

ARC (Covert Operations are 25% faster, +25% on intrigue)

Pan Asian Cooperative (+10% production towards wonders and +25% working speed)

Franco-Iberia (free technology for every 10 virtue points)

Slavic Federation (Orbital Units stay in orbit 20% longer and the first one launched grants a free technology)

Polystralia (Cities can support one more trade route each)

Kevithian Protectorate (Outposts convert into cities 50% faster)

Brasilia (units have +10% Defense in Melee combat)

African Union (+10% food in every growing city when healthy)

Colonists

Scientists (+2 Science in every city)

Refugees (+2 Food in every city)

Aristocrates (+3 Health and +1 Energy in every ciy)

Engineers (+2 Production in every city)

Artists (+2 culture and +1 health in every city)

Spaceship

Continental Survey (Reveals the coastlines on the map)

Retrograde Thrusters (Wider Area to chose for the first settlement)

Tectonic Scanner (shows Petroleum, Geothermal and Titanium ressources)

Fusion Reactor (Begin with +100 energy)

Lifeform Sensor (reveal Aliens on the map)

Cargo

Hydroponics (Begin with 1 extra population)

Laboratory (Begin with pioneering technology)

Raw materials (Begin with a clinic in the first city)

Weapon arsenal (Begin with a soldier unit)

Machinery (Begin with a worker unit)

Gameplay

Civilization: Beyond Earth has streamlined some minor things and introduced some big changes. The first thing we see is the foundation of our capital. The position we can choose out of a certain area. No more thoughts whether to move the settler and loose a turn or take only the second best spot.

Also not all civilizations start at the same time. You start first! Other civilizations drop down one by one and reveal their position to you. If they are not cheating, they AI must be pretty to good to avoid a rush strategy to take them out immediately.

A big change is in the wildlife. Firaxis never gets tired of mentioning that the aliens of Civilization: beyond Earth are not like the barbarians in Civ 5. They are not necessary aggressive, if you aren’t towards them. They can also be a ressource for knowledge later on, probably tamed and send against your enemies. I hope they still can also capture cities and be an independent force. Even more since no city states were present and probably are a bit difficult to implement into this setting.

The next big change in Civilization: Beyond Earth is the techweb. It is no longer necessary to develop most of the early technologies to reach the advanced ones. They are no longer arranged in a line, but in a web. So one can very fast go very deep into one of the branches, ignoring most of the early technologies. This gives great freedom and will probably require a few runs or some time reading the different technologies to have a good research strategy. Since most technologies can be reached much faster this will also show how good work Firaxis did with the balancing. Overpowered technologies can again be exploited to win the game easily.

Civilization: Beyond Earth Lets Play Videos

Full playlist

Northernlion (80 Turns, African Union, Refugees, Fusion Reactor, Laboratory, one ocean – one continent)

The Solar Gamer (ARC, Continental Surveyor, Weapon Arsenal, few large landmasse and small islands)

Part 1:


Part 2:

Civilization: Beyond Earth will be released on Friday October 24th 2014
Developers’ homepage.

If you find this helpful, please comment and share. Thank you very much.

wollemi pine – not suitable for central europe

Five years ago I bought a wollemi pine and wrote about it in this blog.

wollemipine-new

After being on my balcony for three years it unfortunately did. I didn’t know how to cultivate it properly. There was no information about it on the internet. That’s not strange taking into account that in october 2005 292 plants were sold for 1,5 million US-dollars. The tree you see was cloned (they all are) and grown to a size of ~50cm excluding the pot. This also takes some time. So not surprising – there was not much experience by the time I bought the plant.

Now there’s a bit more information. The plant is robust against cold down to -7°C. Plants succesfully survived this temperature. It does not mean that every plant does. In Schottland one plant survived even up to -12°C. This all of course depends on the plant, the humidity of the soil, the time of the coldness and the duration. What I know from germans is that all plants growing in the garden died sooner or later. No matter the protection. So obviously the plant is not suited for central Europe. It’s a pity, because I find it very interesting. So don’t invest in it to plant it in your garden. If you want to keep it in a pot – good luck. And please share your results here. I’ll give an update if I find out something. And maybe I’ll get a wollemi again.

Maybe some day there are more robust cross breds of this plant, but I’m not sure if this is not illegal to preserve the pure genes of the original plant.

Video of the turtlepond

The next video I made after very heavy snowfall. Approximately 80cm went down during one day. One day later I went to the turtlepond. This pond permanently has 28°C warm thermal water. The turtles and goldfish are there the whole year, even in deep winter. Here you see footage of the pond before and after heavy snowfall. I like the nice contrast between the thick snow you get in the alps and the animals which usually live in more tropical regions.

If you like this to, please comment, share and/or like that I know I didn’t get my feet wet because of the snow and the rest of me because of the rain.

Thanks.

thermal ponds in Austria

Deutsche Version.

In this blog there are already some articles about the Warmbach Villach and his tropical inhabitants.This time I want to write about the Maibachl, which actually is more famous.

Maibachl - thermal pond in Villach Austria
Maibachl – thermal pond in Villach Austria

The Maibachl is a thermal spring which fills up two ponds in the forrest. The lower one is shown on the picture. All the year the water leaves earth with around 28°C. Usually the flow is so strong, that the ponds are overflowing into a strong creek, which actually passes by the Warmbach only by a few meters. After mixing with colder creeks both rivers combine. At the picture you don’t see the pond overflowing. Actually it’s already quite inactive and drying out. That’s also the main difference to the Warmbach. Because the Maibachl is only temporary active you can only see very few algaes there, but no other waterplants or water animals. One thing you almost always see is people bathing in the pond. In the water Radon was found and since the time of the romans it’s said that the water has healing power.

tropical creek inside the alps

 

Deutsche Version hier.

I’m living inside the alps and am always fascinated having something tropical around. I found this thermal creek inhabiting  mainly plants from south america and fishes from south africa. To my surprise there are not so many discussions about on the internet. I try to follow the ones I find. There was also the question raised by “Kompomente” how it looks there right now (#18 in the thread – german).This morning it was very foggy, so I decided to go out and take a few pictures for this blog. You can click on them for a larger view.

 

Signs and discussions are about this creek being “renaturalized” (I hope this word exists). Fear of many was that this would lead to a killing of the plants and animals living there, which are usually living on other continents. On the first picture you see that the amount of plants decreased significantly. this normally happens during winter. I guess it’s not so much because of the cold air, but because of the shorter daylight time. Until now the winter was very mild. Here you can see how it could look there also during winter.

The Warmbach - a thermal creek in Villach, Austria being home of tropical plants and fish in the alps.
The Warmbach – a thermal creek in Villach, Austria being home of tropical plants and fish in the alps.

A littler bit further up you can see a lot of Valisneria americana. But other plants vanished there.

The Warmbach - a thermal creek in Villach, Austria being home of tropical plants and fish in the alps.
A little bit further many Valisneria are growing. The “mexikanisches Eichblatt” is almost completely gone.

Das Wasser ist gerade etwas niedriger, deshalb habe ich auch ein Foto aus einer anderen Perspektive eingefügt:

The Warmbach - a thermal creek in Villach, Austria being home of tropical plants and fish in the alps.
The Warmbach from a frog perspective ;-)

A new species I saw in the Warmbach are: horses. They probably got cold feet ;-)

Thanks to “Komponente” for the motivation to write an update here. If you have questions or wishes, please wite them as a comment below. With a bit of luck you get an answer with some nice pictures ;-).

Due to historic reasons, the fishtank section was german. I’m testing, if there’s interest in english articles. If you want to have an old article translated, please write it as a comment below and I’ll do so.

Articles about the Warmbach (mainly german).